Archive for June, 2010

The future of the scientific or knowledgebased world

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

We have done much to improve the world. Science and technology has been used to increase wellbeing and prosperity for most people. But there are areas of dismay: there are about 1 billion poor and starving people and we are harming the globe in many ways for future generations.

Food production and consumption is an area where the present industrialized system can not go on. We are changing the face of the earth to produce food, often substandard, lots of food is wasted, and distribution systems leads to lack of food in many areas. Sustainable methods are lacking.

Many illnesses are still there, often due to lack of sanitation and clean water.

Education is not available for all, creating large differences.

Science now enters a new phase where systems, networks and interconnections are featured, and huge possibilities can be seen for development. New technology in the bio- and nano spheres are there.

But there seems to a growing difference of opinion about what is right and what we should do. There is no longer an authority that knows – the facts are disputed in every field. We can move into new territory, but we must solve the knowledge problem and establish what is right.

Science is about how things really are – there is one true way that things work and that is right – even allowing for complexity in systems.

The agreement about the future is no longer there.

New thinking about deep ecology, the money system and continually happening crises, health issues, poverty, terrorism, harming the Earth etc. is not integrated, not well enough known and simply not on peoples agendas.

People are talking about scams, hoaxes and there are spins and lobbying. There are many dangers and this creates fear.

Political, scientific, ethical, financial issues must be integrated. A collectivization of the new big ideas is needed – so that we can make a foundation for the future. Some say this is not possible.

The real state of knowledge makes this possible if enough of us want it. Dialogue must be improved, knowledge and enlightenment must be improved. The new authority is the thinking about what is right that we all share – our common platform of thought and action.

We need good journalists

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Journalists have made and uncovered many dramatic stories through the ages: Traditional news to tell us what is (really) going on, clever and insightful commentary, pure info and revealing the truth, digging out crimes and cover-ups and many more, all investigative and independent.

Journalists have lost faith in themselves lately, and they have lost their independence, and financing too. Good old fashioned journalism where the original truth is shown is now rare as the complexity of the world has been increasing. This is not satisfactory. We need independent, courageous quality journalism. Society often needs a qualified voice to balance views, to ferret out hidden views, to show deceit. Deeply seen this has to do with how society works – are things correct, legal, transparent.

The old business models based on advertising has fallen. New ones are needed. It will take time to find these. New media are materializing.

Journalists should find and write about lack of wisdom, lack of courage and coherence, criminal activity, find new coherences, see developments and trends, possibilities, start us thinking.

They must work in institutions with independence, capacity of men/women and intelligence, long term thinking so that they can find genuine news and challenge misdeeds or bad thinking and doing, do follow-up work long term. This is needed on a local level, nationally and internationally.

So in the name of a truly good society we need journalists that can see what is right and tell us about it. We need people and institutions and we must be willing to pay for these services.

Do your bit by showing preference for media like this and pay some where you find it.

We are systems – systems are us

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Deep ecology means accepting systems thinking in the sense that the processes taking place in the world follows a pattern or cyclus, and are interlinked and dependent upon each other. It is acceptable to see ecological thinking and systems thinking as the same.

Science has evolved in the same direction – scientific knowledge is increasingly seen as systems knowledge. Biological units are seen as systems, societies can be seen as systems. Things are placed together and they work together, they are connected, have relationships, fit in a context. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts alone. Analysis of detail is out and context is in.

Ecology means household – there are functional relationships between the parts of the biosphere – they have led to the Gaia systems view of the Earth.

Two new concepts are now firmly established: network and community. The old idea of web of life is coming back to us as it has to do with the interwovenness and interdependence of every phenomenon on Earth. Network models of cell systems and organs are used now and organisms are placed in hierarchies of nature. Networks also have nodes, and each node can be seen as an organism, all positioned in a larger system.

The systems concept of networks will lead us into the future!

Joan Miró – inspiring processes in your mind

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

A big Miró exhibition is under way in Scandinavia. Coming from Denmark (Arken) it is now showing in Norway (Henie-Onstad). The exhibition is impressive – well done!

Many things can be said. The artist is maybe attempting a symbiosis of high art and trivial everyday life. He calls himself a gardener, intent that things should grow. Plants must be nourished, cared for and so must our lives and ideas.

The world is full of opposites: male and female, earth and heaven, spoken word and thought, close up and far away, love and strife – but all intertwined.

He has created monsters through his sculptures, probably from seeing madness in the world.

His forms foster creativity in the viewer’s mind, even making her smile and enjoy the fantastic creation he present for us. He seems to say that we must seek constant change, find new forms,  using our intuition to find reality.

So use humour to escape a dazed civilization – find reality where you can – maybe the best place is inside your head in your mind.

Artists must drive us on – Miró still does that. Can he inspire us to reach for a higher life or a dimension more human?

Works are lent by the Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght

US turning from super to just big – progress report

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The chairman of the US Financial Services committee Barney Franck has a panel working on defence cuts. Total cuts of USD 1 trillion over 10 years are seen – meaning closing many projects and withdrawing US forces from many places. The fighter F-35 has been evaluated, but has been ordered by many countries and so will be difficult to put down. US presence in many countries will be reduced. Japan will surely get a new round on Okinawa soon. Several projects make for difficult decisions.

Cuts are probably sound thinking, but objections will be many and fierce too. The situation is rather dramatic for the budget as a whole – so something has got to give in the next round.

Times are hard, and with crisis looming in Europe and Japan there are difficult times ahead. The superpower days for the US are progressing towards it’s end – the US wil just be a big power a bit further on.

The security  and financial issues arising from this makes the world a thrilling place – what will the players do? New alliances and partners coming up? Confrontations or negotiations? Powerplay?

Who will be the new hero(es)? Will it be a better world?

The right eco-political system

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The Chinese are working their way up the international ladder – fast. They are moving about securing ties with all useful people: Investing in Greece in times of crisis, looking for resources in Africa, learning about the Norwegian welfare model, buying international car companies, discussing human rights. The list is long and they mean business.

The Chinese model of government and finance is now considered better than others: A blend of private and State system where the real power lies with the State, but where businesses are allowed to do well. The limits seems to be developing and undergoing testing.

The other trend in the world is that big companies are now bigger than many states. Many global companies dominate their business areas completely, in many countries there are now oligopolies controlling central parts of the economy. Of the 50 biggest economies in the world 20 are said to be companies.

The old capitalistic system with free markets are not working at all, and combining this with the state capitalism we see in many countries a new system is under way: a combination of state capitalism and company capitalism with a huge centralization of capital, and with it clout.

This will have consequences in the long run: The free market is severely restricted to small business only. The economic freedom possible for all will be getting near a point of zero. But be little and all will be well. Be a worker and you have a life.

The question of natural resources and competition for these resources for development is the next big fight coming up. This is a bit like the Europeans going all over fetching what they needed – now there are new masters, and the pattern repeats itself. This will now run its course as history repeats itself.

But in the long run we need something better. We need a system that can be mended before it breaks down, can be developed sensibly and  that is fair to all.

A state will in the long run be centralized, politicized, restrictive and in the widest sense undemocratic. We need political and economic freedom, equal opportunity and social stability – and all at the same time. So far we’ve managed one or two at a time. Increased size of huge companies will make it even worse.

To suggest a few new notions:  The world’s resources should undergo common pool resource management, local communities everywhere should be strengthened, cooperative voluntary ventures should be encouraged, the thinking of  systems and symbiosis introduced, big companies should not be allowed to flourish wildly, capital should be distributed more evenly with huge build-ups disallowed, a new monetary system considered, we must choose areas of activity where products and services are not  marketable.

The fighting about everything must stop sometime – community, cooperation and symbiosis are the new words of honour.


History – what is it?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

We write history all the time. It should come as no surprise that it also changes all the time. The official or accepted view is there and there are alternative views. The views change as new knowledge and understanding develops. Versions of history are made to suit people’s agendas.

Lack of courage to tell the truth also matters.

The public is without deep knowledge and can’t possibly tell.  We may have to leave the notion of historical correctness. It’s all relative to something! There is always more to discover.

History may even be plain false. Stories could be invented, created for political purposes, suppressed, given the wrong weight or interpretation and so on.

History could also be written in a detailed manner with sounds and smells and colours, or it could be written from the standpoint of the master of political strategy, in many instances there was just not anybody there to tell – there are endless possibilities as to how history comes out.

It can be broad and cover everything that happens on a continent, in the world, or it could represent the view as seen from a country.

The historian can be a learned woman or a press officer or a propaganda person – who do you believe?

So we should be careful: at least we should have some historical distance in time, subjectivity must not be present, sources and conflicts of interest should be shown, judgment must be impartial, the historian must be learned and not personally involved.

There are lots of incidents that could have been part of history, but never made it – often for no good reason.

The things that we see today – will they be part of history one day or are there too many hoaxes, fabrications that has to be uncovered first?

What if the historical assumptions we base our society on are false, incomplete or carefully crafted productions? Whose thoughts should gain the upper hand, who has been left out? Has there been too much control – of previous thinking and doing – and not enough freedom? What is the reality?

History is somebody’s invention – always. Be a sceptic – always.

Renewal of music or world music

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Music is an important part of our lives: Exciting, relaxing, challenging, interesting, technical, new, move your body, dance, varied…….

Musical form is locked into systems of tonality. Classical western music and classical eastern music, folk music all show huge differences. But we mostly keep to our own kind of music – what we have been conditioned to like.

The scales we know and use as normal could be different if we chose to and liked to. Playing and singing limits us to a scale system and a physical layout system that is given. Do you ever think about using another system of tonality: other pitches, harmony, a different view of dissonance…..

Many people in the western world have tried new ways – Schoenberg, Valen, Bartok ….. with some success. The wide acceptance is still lacking. Popmusic is still the same with little new. Our music is mostly closed into a tempered system – that is what we accept and use.

Breaking this system up and introducing new (allowed) scales and new ways of playing and singing could be a good idea for both pop and classical music. Some would consider it playing false and impossible to like. But new creativity could follow with new thinking and tonality.

Today’s technology makes new tonality possible in new ways. Computers can assist your creativity in making music, but while playing most people still prefer the old instruments, but a change could be coming if we like what we may hear. Increasing globalization leads us into other music worlds that are fun, interesting and adaptable.

The technicalities of scales and tonality are developing, the standard of singing and playing is high and our ears can hear it. But our minds need conditioning and music that we can deem good.

Loosen up the music and thrilling stuff could ensue for us all. Unlock the potential by finding a new mindset – start looking for yourself – there is already somebody out there doing likable and original stuff.

What about microtonality – notes with less than a halfnote between them. Folk music has used it for a long time – it’s all about perception and what you can get used to.

Heard any noise artists lately?